Heating Oil Theft – Warnings and Advice

This is becoming a well-worn theme here at Find A Fuel Supplier but it’s an important one – heating oil theft is real, it’s happening, and people need to be alert and alive to it. In the last two days, both Dyfed-Powys Police and Essex Police issued warnings about heating oil thefts.

Inspector Alan Millichip of Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Given the current high price of fuel it’s highly likely that fuel thefts will increase and we’re continuing to see a spike in this type of crime in the county.

“While, we utilise all resources to catch offenders, it’s vital individuals, businesses and communities do all they can to protect themselves from falling victim.”

So, here are some tips as to how to lessen the threat from fuel thieves:

1. Camouflage or disguise fuel tanks, if possible, so that they are not visible from roads or highways. You can use trellising, or hedging, or large potted plants. Something is better than nothing. In turn, if your tank is sited in a really obvious place – seriously consider re-siting the tank into a less obtrusive position. It’s not necessarily an expensive action.

2. Install security lighting or gravel around the tanks so that you are alerted to any movement around the tank.

3. Work with neighbours and other members of the community to keep an eye out for each other. Neighbourhood Watch Schemes are valuable here. If you go away on a trip, or holiday, specifically ask someone to actively watch out for your property.

4. Ensure that your tank is physically secured. There are specialist locks you can purchase and some insurance companies won’t pay out on an oil theft unless these high quality locks are used. Check with your insurance company what physical security they require.

In turn, there are also alarm systems that can be purchased – some of which can send warning texts/calls/emails if disturbed.

5. Observe and report suspicious vehicles. Especially large unmarked tankers. The old adage ‘better safe than sorry’ makes a lot of sense here. If you report a number plate, the police can look out for a vehicle – it only takes them a couple of minutes to ascertain whether the vehicle is legitimate. Most drivers won’t mind taking a couple of minutes out of their day to answer questions and help bring about a safer community.

6. Check the oil level of your tank regularly. If your oil is stolen, but you think the tank is full – you want to alert the police as soon as possible. In turn, you don’t want a cold house because the boiler won’t fire because the tank is empty.